Jim was born on January 24, 1944, in Kenosha, Wisconsin to the Hon. Harry V. Sr. and Corinne (Schmitt) Carlson. He graduated from Kenosha Bradford High School in 1962, from UW-Madison with his undergraduate degree in 1966, and his law degree in 1970. Following law school, Jim began his career as an attorney at the Clark Dempsey Law Firm in Whitewater, also serving at that time as the Assistant City Attorney for Whitewater. In 1976, Jim was elected District Attorney for Walworth County. During his tenure as District Attorney, Jim focused on building the capabilities of the office to better serve the interests of Walworth County. In 1978, Governor Lee Dreyfus appointed Jim to fill a judicial vacancy for Walworth County. Following his appointment, he was regularly elected to the court until his retirement on July 31, 2016. In 2013, the Walworth County Bar Association recognized Judge Carlson’s long and dedicated professional service to the community by awarding him a Lifetime Achievement Award. By the time of his retirement in 2016, Judge Carlson had become the longest-serving judge in Walworth County history.
Jim was a faithful, active member of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Whitewater. He was passionate about his faith. He was a 4th order Knights of Columbus and a 3rd order Franciscan, and invested much time and effort in advancing the missions of both organizations, and acquired many close friends. Jim traveled on missionary trips to Haiti and the Dominican Republic to provide assistance to needy people. He was also very involved in numerous community and charitable organizations and served in leadership positions, as well as foot soldier activities such as parking cars and selling food at the Walworth County Fair. He was widely known for his compassion and generosity and readily accepted invitations to serve the community.
Jim was a loving and devoted brother, uncle and Godfather. He made time for everyone and was a great listener. He lived a full life of service in his professional, community and religious involvements, yet always made time to show up for family dinners, holiday and birthday celebrations or to watch his nephew and niece’s sporting and school activities. He had a passion for travel, skiing, golf and playing board and card games which he never liked to lose. He loved the Badgers (longtime football and basketball season ticket holder) and Packers. He always showed a smile, maintained a calm demeanor (excluding after Packer and Badger losses), and through all his accomplishments and recognitions, remained an unaffected, humble man.
He is survived by his brother Harry (Karen) Carlson, Genesee Depot, WI; nephew Matthew (Clare) Carlson, Cambridge, WI; niece Esther (Robert) Sumner, Kenmore, WA; grandnieces and grandnephews Grace, Thomas Carlson and Ella, Ian Sumner. He is preceded in death by his parents.
The family extends their heartfelt gratitude to the care provided by the UW Carbone Center, the Mulberry and Glenwood Community staff and Rainbow Hospice, as well as to the St. Patrick’s Church faith community and Jim’s brother Knights and friends for their loving vigil.
Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, at 11:00 am at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1225 W. Main St., Whitewater, WI 53190. A visitation will be held on Monday, March 19, 2018, from 4:00 -7:00 pm at St. Patrick Catholic Church and on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, from 10:00 am until the time of the service. Burial will follow at the Green Ridge Cemetery, Kenosha, WI. In lieu of flowers, please direct any gifts in Jim’s name to St. Patrick Church, UW Carbone Center or Rainbow Hospice
The Nitardy Funeral Home, Whitewater, WI is assisting the family, www.nitardyfuneralhome.com